Volunteer Square partnered with the Stamford Mentoring Collaborative to help participating organizations recruit mentors and promote training and networking events. You can find a page on our website dedicated to the collaborative that features information about how to get involved as a mentor, invitations to training and networking events and news from the collaborative.
The Stamford Mentoring Collaborative is building capacity, raising awareness and sharing resources to create sustainable mentoring relationships that lead to brighter futures. Seven partner agencies from Stamford, all using mentors in their youth programs, make up this group. The partnering agencies include Boys and Girls Club of Stamford, Domus, Human Services Council, City of Stamford Youth Services, Child Guidance Center, Starfish Connection and Stamford Public Education Foundation. The collaborative also has the support of The Governor's Prevention Partnership.
On March 30th, the Collaborative hosted their first mentor training and networking event. Dr. Susan Weinberger, A.K.A., Dr. Mentor, was the guest speaker. During her 30 minute presentation, Dr. Weinberger spoke to over 40 mentors from membership organizations. She shared stories from her accomplished career and valuable tips for a successful mentor/mentee relationship.
According to Dr. Weinberger, the most important role a mentor plays in the life of their mentee is to be their greatest advocate. She cautioned mentors to take this role very seriously. She also encouraged mentors to introduce their mentees to financial literacy programs, talk about nutrition and exercise, set short and long term goals and help them find part-time jobs.
Ongoing communication with the mentee's family about how the young person is doing in school and encouraging participation extracurricular activities is also key to the relationship. She stressed that it's never too early to start resume building with a mentee, she recommended starting as early as sixth grade, it will set the mentee up for success in high school and as they prepare for college.
Dr. Weinberger's presentation was followed by an interactive activity led by Julia Wade, Domus. This was a great way for mentors to learn more about each other and also add a new activity to their "bag of tricks" to bring back to their mentees. The room was buzzing with mentors answering questions while playing the game Jenga. It was a great way for the mentors to use each other as sounding boards as they practiced techniques to use at their next meeting with their mentee.
The themes that echoed through the evening about the mentor/mentee relationships were simple -be your mentee's friend, treat him/her with respect, expand their possibilities by providing connections with people and places they wouldn't otherwise have access to and do your best to support your mentee throughout your relationship.
The evening ended with a brief discussion and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive from mentors. Mentors expressed their gratitude to the collaborative and are looking forward to more training and events in the future.
If you are interested in becoming a mentor for any of the organizations in the Stamford Mentoring Collaborative, please visit our site for more information and start changing the life of a young person today!